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Video: Sequoyah, A Georgia Biography

Sequoyah, a Cherokee Indian with ties to Georgia and Oklahoma, did something no other person in recorded history has done. He created a system of writing for an unwritten language. In 1819, Sequoyah started work on a written version of the Cherokee language. He developed a character for each syllable in the language. A syllable included a single sound, like a vowel, a consonant, or a dipthong. Eventually Sequoyah created a total of 86 characters, devising what’s known as a syllabary. Cherokees quickly caught on to Sequoyah’s practical system for writing their language. Within months of its introduction, much of the Cherokee Nation became literate.